For grassroots for-purpose organisations to survive, they need to quickly and effectively communicate their unique case for support to potential funders. Improving their skills and confidence in this area is essential to developing and strengthening connections and can play a critical role in securing much-needed funding.
The Funding Network (TFN) is an Australia-based non-profit, bringing people together to find, fund and fuel grassroots social change initiatives that directly help people in need. In the past decade, they have delivered pitch coaching workshops to more than 2,000 non-profit leaders. These intensive workshops use proven communications techniques, taught by leaders in the field, to give participants a clear framework to engage and inspire potential donors and partners. Over the years, for-purpose organisations who have participated in these workshops have gone on to collectively raise over $22 million from donors across Australia.
A holistic approach to communications
Emily Carr is the founder and Managing Director of Parkour Consulting, a full service strategy and people consultancy that dedicates 10% of their time to working with non-profits. Carr joined TFN as a pitch coach to help non-profits build capacity to attract fundraising into the future.
Over these past two years Carr has seen the value of Pitch Coaching for all participants.
“When we start each session, the biggest challenge for everyone is always ‘how am I going to get everything I want to say into a 5-minute pitch?’” says Carr. “The coaching teaches them the craft of storytelling and that structure helps them get really clear on the message.” What Carr truly appreciates though, are the holistic effects this new communication skill has beyond the pitch itself. “Pitch coaching is an amazing tool to use across your organisation,” explains Carr. “You can take this learning away and apply it to your website, to any communication materials and even to your networking.”
During COVID, charities and non-profits were obligated to move their operations online to help fuel their fundraising.
“It’s also given far more people access to capacity building programs offered digitally, like the pitch coaching,” says Carr.“I’ve run so many more of these since it’s moved online. I’ll have someone calling from their truck on the side of the road, or from far north Queensland – no matter where they are, they can still participate. TFN’s shift to digital delivery has enabled that access.”
Pitch coaching presents an ongoing value for all participants
All non-profits who have participated in a TFN live pitching event are given pitch coaching and training, giving them the best chance of securing funding on the night. These non-profit leaders consistently confirm that the skills gained at these workshops present a value equal to the donations they have received.
Loretta Lilford, co-founder of HUG foundation’s Smiling Hearts Uganda program, speaks to the experience of many grassroots organisations that come to a TFN event without any prior history pitching for funding.
“Personally, I learned to believe in my ability. Even though I wasn’t a CEO with corporate experience, I actually did have the ability to pitch and show we were a worthy finalist. I was extremely grateful for the amazing support and coaching we were provided, and this allowed me to present proudly and confidently.”
For Alicia Kennedy, CEO of Cherished Pets, the ripple effects of TFN’s pitch coaching continues to provide opportunities for her organisation.
“Through TFN there is greater awareness, new connections and contacts, new opportunities and endorsements; and through all this the pitch coaching especially has been an amazing support to me,” says Kennedy. “I recently participated in the Social Impact Hub’s Scaling Impact program and drew on my pitch coaching experience. In fact I won the Tanarra Advisors Best Pitch Award at the showcase to investors!”
Top tips for non-profits to grow their funding networks
Pitch Coach Emily Carr shares her top tips for any organisation trying to attract funding and grow their donor networks:
- Storytelling – you need to be able to communicate your mission beyond the facts and the figures. For it to resonate with people you need to make it personal, you need to tell that story and create empathy and a connection through that.
- Sharpen your message – Every organisation delivers so many wonderful programmes, but for the message to connect you need to pick just one. If you try to talk about everything, it will get confusing, so make sure your Call to Action is concise and specific.
- Get everyone on message – everyone in your organisation should be able to communicate your mission statement quickly and clearly. Consider pitch coaching as an essential investment in giving your team the capacity to network and communicate better for stronger connections in every setting.
TFN offers standalone workshops to non-profit leadership teams, boards of directors and community foundations.
Find out more about how Pitch Coaching can benefit your organisation.
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